The Metele incident is, therefore, a wake-up call on the Federal Government to intensify the war against the insurgents in all fronts.
The gruesome killing of some Nigerian soldiers at Metele, Borno State, is worrisome, condemnable and unacceptable. The intensification of the war in an election season is not good for the country and its security. The success of the Metele attack is a tacit confirmation that the war against terrorism is far from being over.
Instead, the war is fiercely raging and taking large tolls on civilians and soldiers as well. It is also a confirmation that the war is not being waged, perhaps, with the right tools and strategies. This is the home truth the Nigerian authorities must be willing to admit and accept. It shall no longer assume that the terrorists have been severely degraded or defeated. Such an assumption is dangerous and unhelpful to the war effort. The Metele incident is, therefore, a wake-up call on the Federal Government to intensify the war against the insurgents in all fronts. It should procure the right weapons and equipment needed to confront the deadly insurgents immediately.
There is no point treating them with kid gloves anymore. If the insurgents are using asymmetrical methods to fight our troops, we shall also devise a commensurate counter-measure to fight them. Using conventional methods to fight the insurgents that use asymmetrical methods is counter- productive.
We have indeed gone far beyond the era of having ‘technically’ degraded or defeated the warring sect as some government officials claimed then. The reality on ground shows that the sect has not been degraded or defeated whether technically or otherwise. Losing about 23 soldiers as the Federal Government has admitted in one operation is sad. But, the loss of many soldiers far beyond the official figures as reported in the media is mind-boggling.
This is the right time to overhaul the entire anti-insurgency operations. Battle-weary soldiers must be replaced with well-trained and equipped counter-terrorism troops. Although slogans and propaganda have their usefulness in warfare, no war has been won based on these parameters. And no war has been won based on prayers alone. War is won based on the strength and commitment of the troops.
Nothing demoralizes troops more than not being well-equipped with weapons and other needed supplies. There is no doubt that the Metele incident can cause a period of low morale among the troops. They should never despair. The Metele incident should be probed to find out the reason or reasons for such reversals in the war against terrorism. The probe should scrutinize how funds voted for the war are being utilized.
The alleged rivalry among the various security agencies involved in the war must also be investigated. The failure of deployment of intelligence should be investigated as well. It is good that President Muhammadu Buhari has appraised the situation and thereby promised to end the insurgency in the North-East within the shortest possible time. But it will still remain a promise if the government fails to procure the required modern fighting equipment needed for such a war. The government must take the war very seriously and stop claims that the insurgents have been degraded. The precision of their attacks and their consistency over the past couple of months are veritable signs that the war will take longer time than envisaged to be won. Therefore, there is no room for complacency on the part of our troops. The only way to win the war is through massive attack, attack and attack until the insurgents are subdued finally.
There is even no point brooding over the Metele incident. Broodings and lamentations will never solve any problem. What the troops and the government should do now is to nip in the bud another Metele. Another Metele will be sad and unacceptable. Everything must be done to prevent such a calamity in future. The war against terror must never be politicized even though war and politics usually mix. The soldiers must get the loss behind them and forge ahead.
Slow pace of campaigns
Campaigns for presidential and national assembly elections commenced on November 18. But from all indications, it is apparent that the campaigns are moving so slowly. The slow pace of the campaigns is worrisome. The candidates are yet to hit the soapbox. They are yet to hit the media.
There is too much lull in the campaigns unlike the 2015 period. The advertisements are not trickling. Campaign posters are yet to appear everywhere with gloss pictures of the aspirants. The candidates are not yet talking. The candidates should hit the campaign grounds and tell the voters why they should be voted into power. Time is no longer on their side. The slow pace of the campaigns is indeed worrisome.
Although some voters might have decided which candidate they will support, the newcomers, that is, those that will vote for the first time are waiting for the campaigns to decide. Let the candidates start selling themselves now before it is too late.
My chance meeting with Ikeogu Oke
I met the departed lyrical poet and writer, Ikeogu Oke on July 13, 2018 in an event at the University of Lagos. The meeting was never arranged. Incidentally, it happened to be the first and last meeting with him before his death on November 24, 2018.
Although, we had spoken on phone many times, the UNILAG meeting gave us an opportunity to share our views on some issues including academic and literary matters. He spoke passionately about The Heresiad and his commitment to writing. He dressed in his usual native attire which he used during poetry performance. Without asking, the poet laureate and winner of the NLNG Prize for Literature gave me an autographed copy of the award-winning collection, The Heresiad and The Lion and the Monkey.
Our meeting was brief, intense and vivacious. Unfortunately, it was the last encounter with the iconic poet. It is sad that Ikeogu died at a time his works are being sought after and appreciated. As a gifted writer, Ikeogu had immortalized himself. He shall continue to live in the memory of his readers and critics. I heartedly commiserate with his family, the literary community and his fans over his passage. Go in peace, Ikeogu.